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Monday, May 24, 2010

Steven & Jenna


Hard to believe that my baby brother is getting married.
We are so excited to be leaving for Texas in a couple of days to
watch my brother, Steven, marry his long-time sweetheart, Jenna.

You can check out their website if you want and get some cute details and fun facts about both of them...you can even send them a gift if you want. lol!


They were really lucky when the went to the Dallas Bridal Expo last
year and won the grand prize.
A FULL WEDDING...(basically) for FREE!

We are really happy for them and can't wait to go hang out in (HOT) Texas for a few days!

Congrats Guys!!!
Oh, yeah, stay tuned for pics because Kayley is
going to make a wicked cute flower girl.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Wah-wah


Look at those sad faces... Kayley tells strangers, "Thats Maggie...she cries ALL the time..."
But, she really doesn't.
She only cries SOME times....
But, I had to take a crying baby picture.
Because, honestly...she is so cute. Even when she is crying.



Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Kayley's School Photo


Here is Kayley's school photo from this Spring. No. I didn't buy one. They were really expensive and the guy didn't even make any efforts to make sure the kids smiled.
She looks so...serious!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Springfied Cardinals Game

We were lucky to go to the Springfield Cardinals game last night courtesy of St. John's!
We got to hang out in the St. John's box suite...where we honked down hot dogs, nacho's and hot wings (yup~ for FREEEE~). The game was great...but it was kind of cold and windy. We got a couple of free souvenir baseball bats and we even "caught" a ball. (More like screeched and ducked...THEN picked up the ball...lol!) It was pretty fun!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Rain, rain, GO Away!

We've had a lot of storms rolling through the Ozarks. Blugh!
Look at some of these pics!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Friday, May 7, 2010

Buyers Remorse...

I was awake for hours last night stressing out
over the decision we've made to homeschool.
A sort-of "buyers remorse."
A sort of "what have I DONE" kind of feeling.

You know why?
Because I am terrified.

I was "what-IF-ing".
You know what I mean...

What if:
I am making a bad decision?
What if Kayley hates it?
What if I hate it?
What if Kayley misses school a lot? (She LOVES school).
What if Kayley cries because she wants to ride the yellow bus?
(which rumbles in front of our house 4x's a day).
What if I can't find a good substitute for going to preK?
(something she can love as much as going to school?)
What if we have a hard time making friends?
What if I get overwhelmed just being around my kids 24/7-no breaks?
What if we spend so much time at home that I gain (another) 20 pounds?
What if I change my mind later?
What if we can't find a compatible co-op?
What if I never have any time to be by myself again?????
What if?
What if?

I started rethinking Gloria Deo.
-hey, maybe its not so bad?
-so what if they pledge allegiance to the Christian flag? (whatever that is?)
-so what if Kayley gets a little bullied-she can handle it.
-so what if the doctrine they teach is skewed?
-so what if I have no choice over what/how/when she learns?
-so what if they dress immodestly?
-Oh! I'd get a couple mornings to myself a week...oh, that would be so nice....
-and Maggie could go to school there too...

And, there I went, convincing myself that maybe
homeschooling wasn't the best choice for me or my girls.

I kid you not, I lay awake forever last night stressing about it.

What if?
I'm afraid that I've already ruined everything by sending Kayley
to preschool for the last year.
She loves it.
She expects it.
She is happy there.
Am I trying to fix something that isn't even broken?

I feel better this morning.

But--

Starting homeschooling is like getting married.
A really big commitment.
A lifetime commitment.
A loving commitment.
I can do it.
I know I can.
I'm just (still) freaking out about how to make it
happen in a way that everybody will (still) be happy.
And wondering
What if.

(Basically, -I have pre-wedding jitters...
or in other words: COLD FEET!!!)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Bald Spot...


Nothing quite like "the bald spot."
It would be pretty cool it it was on the top of her head.
Then she could look like Friar Tuck.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Diligent searching DONE...

We were still diligently seeking out options for our girls and their education. (I won't go into details about why we are not choosing public school. We'll just leave it at the fact that it is not what we are looking for.) Over the last few months we have been throwing around everything from private classical education to homeschooling.
Diligent searching coupled with prayer have led us to make what we sincerely believe is the best decision for our children. A weight has been lifted off of my shoulders replaced with tremendous excitement! I'll elaborate:

Right now Kayley is exhibiting reading readiness. She is ready to read...and she is wanting to learn RIGHT NOW. I've been hesitant to teach her to read because...well...what would she learn in Kindergarten? She would be bored. She would get antsy. Which means she would probably end up getting into trouble. :) I know my Kayley. Keep her mind and hands busy or watch out! Well...the more I've worried about Kayley being ahead I realize that I'm being unfair to her. I'm keeping her behind! If she is ready, and she is ready right now, I should follow her cues. Which is why we were already heavily researching schools and options. Here is what I've found:

So, we started with a tour of Grace Classical Academy a couple of weeks ago and we thought the school was great. One of the things I really like about it was the classical education approach and I have to admit that I was a fan of the modest uniforms. (All the girls had to wear skirts -no pants- and they had to be to the KNEE or longer.) The major downside to that school was the drive. I just can't see myself committing to the 30 minute drive (each way!) 5 days a week. That wasn't the only con though. I decided I wasn't a fan of the 'catered' lunch program. I couldn't believe that they brought in Taco Bell, Chick-fil-a and Dominoes for lunch. WEEKLY! (Granted you could pack your kids lunch, but still...what kid wants to eat a PBJ when they could have Taco Bell every week??) I liked the fact that they were a Christian School but I worried a little about how compatible their classes would be with our testimony. Either way, we threw out that option and continued looking.

After a lot more research I finally narrowed it down to the hybrid school (Gloria Deo Academy) or homeschooling & joining a co-op.

Today we took the plunge and went and did our tour of the Gloria Deo Academy or GDA as they nickname it. GDA was a pretty interesting school. The kids go to school 2 days a week, then homeschool 3 days a week. I am really sold on the idea of homeschooling, but I'm (understandly) freaked out about being soley responsible for my children's education (and honestly-a little freaked out about spending so much time with them with NO breaks!) That was one of the main things I liked about GDA is that they would be telling me what to homeschool and when. (I wouldn't be in charge of their education-I would just be supplementing). Another thing that I liked about GDA is the uniform (I'm a fan of uniformity - must be the military background?) I also liked that it is a Christian school. (Although, once again, what kinds of things will Kayley learn that is not compatible with our beliefs? How much damage control would we have to worry about? They are non-denominational main-stream Christians but they do a few things that I raised my eyebrows at...just as us LDS-types do a few things that I'm sure they raise their eyebrows at...) I also liked the fact that they would go to school 2 days a week and get to hang out with their peers and socialize (I know...the "S" word that everybody brings up when I mention homeschooling - that is a posting for another day though). While they were hanging out at school - I'd get the day to myself!

Get to the point already right??
Ok, so the point is:
Today we took out tour.
AND here are some MORE things I found out...
First, they start each morning with a devotional. Then they say the "Pledge of Alliegiance to the Christian Flag AND the Bible." James asked the tour-lady, "What is that all about?" She tried to recite them for us and she couldn't remember. So she called over a student (maybe about 7th or 8th grade girl) and asked her to recite it for us. She couldn't remember it either. Well...lets just say that is not very impressive. And they supposedly say them every morning.

Ok, so we continued our tour and stumbled across a bunch of High Schoolers playing Muscial Chairs as they reviewed for a test. Ok... I'm sorry... but those skirts. Uniforms or not...they are WAY TOO SHORT. For a school that brags that they do everything to honor and glorify God, I'm not so sure that those WAY too SHORT skirts are very appropriate, modest and pleasing to our Heavenly Father. When I asked about the uniform standards I was told that the skirts must be at the fingertips or lower. (The only way THOSE skirts were at their fingertips is if their shoulders are growing out of their ears!)

Next she told us a little bit about what the kids are studying and we took a tour of a K classroom. For some reason the kindergarteners memorize all of the African Countries. Why? I have no clue. Is that really useful for some reason? They also memorize the 50 states. Ok, the 50 states I could see... presidents of the US I could see... but African Countries? I'm not sure what the point of that is... Oh and of course they also have Math, Phonics, Science, Bible study, and PE.

We ended our tour talking about curriculum and the classical method of education. With the classical method they do a lot of rote memorization. (Perhaps that is why they memorize something obscure like African Countries...if we really wanted to memorize something lets memorize the 10 commandments or something useful!) Also, you have to BUY the homeschool curriculum AND pay tuition. (Your tuition doesn't pay for books or materials, which I expected from Grace but not really from GDA). Oh and uniforms. (Don't get me wrong..I love the uniform idea as long as they are modest). By the time you add up all the extras, you would be paying the same as Grace...at 5 days per week. Plus, you do not even get to remotely choose what curriculum they would be using. Sonlight for phonics, Abeka for math, etc. So, it really isn't homeschooling at all. You can supplement, but it looks like what they give you for homeschool-homework would keep them really busy. So supplementation could be overwhelming for your poor kid. Don't get me wrong. The school looks like a great option. But, maybe not the best option for us.

Before we left they did the GDA intake-test on Kayley. She tested as Gifted. She tested at the Kindergarten level. She is only 3. They asked us if we wanted to put her on the Kindergarten wait-list for Fall. My 3 year old... starting Kindergarten? In August? Ok, so she would be 4 years old in August. BARELY. Uhm. I am so grateful that my daughter is a smartie. (I knew it all along) but to put my baby in K in the fall? I can't do it. She would be almost 2 years younger than her classmates. One thing that the administrator said that really stuck with me as we were leaving. She said, "Gifted children need to be challenged...or they will lose that gift." She's right. Kayley needs to move on...right now. Not 2 years from now in Kindergarten. NOW. But not at the expense of her self-esteem by putting her with kids 2 years older and starting kindergarten now. I don't think that will make her happy.
And really that is what matters.

You know, as a parent, you are homeschooling your children all along.
Everything they learned up to K they learned from YOU.

Somebody else gave me this wise advice:

When the time comes for Kayley to start Kindergarten
instead of asking yourself,

"Should I homeschool?

Maybe you should ask yourself:

"Should I continue to homeschool?"

Yes.
It's official.

I'm going to homeschool.
(And yes - I am freaking out)


New Carpet.

Look! We got new carpet...
Unfortunately 3 and 1/16th carpet samples are all we can afford.
LOL!
Maybe next year.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Walnut Street Arts Fest

We had a great time this weekend hanging out at the Walnut Street Arts Festival!
Live music and fun projects for the kids.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Solids!

Today was a big day at our house. We tried out some rice cereal.
You can follow the pics to get an idea of what Maggie thought....
She looks a little worried! But - she liked it!
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